At least three-fourths of all jobs are not advertised, according to career advisors. So, what do you do if you are interested in working at a particular company but don’t see any job openings in your field? One way to network and make connections, to get your foot in the door, is to set up an informational interview.

The first step is to find someone in the company to talk to. You can find a contact by using social media sites like LinkedIn or even checking the company website. After you have found a contact, here are the steps to take.

1. Find common ground

Find out as much as you can about the person, such as where they went to school, where they have lived, degrees earned, and any professional affiliations. Read anything they have written, such as articles or blogs.

2. Tell the person why you are contacting him or her.

Career advisors say that it is important to note that you have not seen any job openings listed, but that you are aware the situation could change quickly. Ask if they would be agreeable to talking about any future opportunities that might arise.

3. Be brief

People are busy. They have to deal with a lot of messages from clients, coworkers, managers, and others at work. So, your message of introduction needs to be brief, just a few lines. State your purpose right away. If you are sending an email to make contact, use the subject line to establish a connection — letting them know that you have read their blog, for example — and would like to have a conversation.

Begin the email by mentioning something in their background that shows you have done your homework.

4. Observe the conventions

An informational interview is not a job interview. The purpose, as the name states, is to make connections and gather information. When you talk, you should not ask for a job or ask if anyone is hiring. You need to state up front that you are contacting the person for information and advice on how to move ahead in your job search.

But you can ask about what might open up in the future and what you can do to keep in touch with those who make the hiring decisions in the event that a position should become available.

Keep the conversation short, 20 to 30 minutes at most. After you talk, send a thank you email and let the person know what your next moves are.

If you want to be more productive in your job search, check out Winston Resources. We can be your partner in the job search, helping you find a job that fits your skills and experience. We have the know-how to help. Give us a call today.

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